Allied Warships

HMS Orwell (G 98)

Destroyer of the O class

NavyThe Royal Navy
PennantG 98 
Built byThornycroft (Southampton, U.K.) 
Ordered3 Sep 1939 
Laid down20 May 1940 
Launched2 Apr 1942 
Commissioned17 Oct 1942 
End service 

Scrapped in June 1965.


Commands listed for HMS Orwell (G 98)

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1Lt.Cdr. Nigel Hubert George Austen, DSO, RN18 Aug 1942Jan 1943
2Lt.Cdr. John Michael Hodges, DSO, RNJan 194315 Jul 1944
3Lt.Cdr. John Ronald Gower, RN15 Jul 194416 Oct 1945

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Notable events involving Orwell include:

30 Dec 1942
On 30 December 1942 the German heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper attacked convoy JW.51B and was held at bay by the British destroyers HMS Onslow, HMS Obedient, HMS Obdurate and HMS Orwell. When renewing her attack she was engaged by the British cruisers HMS Sheffield and HMS Jamaica and was badly damaged them. The only success of the operation was the sinking of the destroyer HMS Achates and the minesweeper HMS Bramble, the destroyers HMS Onslow, HMS Obedient, HMS Obdurate and HMS Orwell were damaged in the action.

23 Sep 1943
HMS H 33 (Lt. D.G. Kent, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Musketeer (Cdr. E.N.V. Currey, DSC, RN), HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, DSO, RN), HMS Oribi (Lt.Cdr. J.C.A. Ingram, DSC and Bar, RN) and ORP Orkan (Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki, ORP). (1)

18 Dec 1943
HMS Vampire (Lt. C.W. Taylor, RNR) conducted A/S exercises at/off Scapa Flow with HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, DSO, RN). (2)

19 May 1944
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises at/off Scapa Flow with HMS Nubian (Lt.Cdr. T.A. Pack-Beresford, RN), HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.M. Hodges, DSO, RN), HMS Whelp(Cdr. G.A.F. Norfolk, RN) and HMS Wizard (Lt.Cdr. D.T. McBarnet, DSC, RN). (3)

28 Nov 1944
HMS Volatile (Lt. F.R. Lawrence, RN) participated in A/S exercises at/off Scapa Flow.

During these exercises Volatile collided with HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, RN). Volatile sustained damage to her conning tower. The port side of the bridge was caved in. These was also heavy damage to both periscope. One of which was completely carried away. (4)

12 Jan 1945
The British heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk (Capt. J.G.Y. Loveband, RN with Rear-Admiral R.R. McGrigor, CB, DSO, RN aboard) and the light cruiser HMS Bellona (Capt. C.F.W. Norris, DSO, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Onslow (Capt. H.W.S. Browning, OBE, RN), HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, DSC, RN) and HMS Onslaught (Cdr. the Hon. A. Pleydell-Bouverie, RN) attack a German convoy of Egersund, Norway. Two German merchants, the Bahia Camarones (8551 GRT) and the Charlotte (4404 GRT) and the minelayer M 273 were sunk.

21 Jan 1945
HMS Votary (Lt. P.M. Staveley, RN) conducted A/S exercises at Scapa Flow with HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, DSC, RN). (5)

20 Mar 1945
HMS Orwell (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Gower, DSC, RN) picks up 65 survivors (of which one died aboard the destroyer) from the American merchant Horace Bushnell that was torpedoed and damaged by German U-boat U-995 about 25 nautical miles east of North Kilden Light in position 69°23'N, 35°17'E.

Media links

British destroyers & frigates

Norman Friedman

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. ADM 173/17786
  2. ADM 173/18443
  3. ADM 173/19434
  4. ADM 173/19429
  5. ADM 173/20344

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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